Tag Archives: what is adrenal fatigue

Breathe Away Morning Fatigue

yawning, tired, afternoon lull, adrenal fatigue, fatigue, lower cortisol

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

August 19, 2019

I tried to call my phone company the other day.

Yup… you guessed it. Rather than reaching a real person, I wasted a bunch of time trying to press the right number to make the phone robot happy. I found myself begging to talk to a real person….well, actually I was  pressing zero multiple times to get to an operator…didn’t work.

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Sadly, stressors like this are common these days.

And it seems to be taking its toll on society. When I look at my own practice, I have many more stressed out patients looking for help than I did 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. Continue reading

Breathe Away Morning Fatigue

yawning, tired, afternoon lull, adrenal fatigue, fatigue, lower cortisol

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

March 11, 2016

  • The most overlooked cause of low energy
  • 3 nutrients to boost adrenal function
  • Just five minutes to lower cortisol levels

Do you ever feel like everyone else in your house wakes up “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” each morning, while you have to drag yourself out of bed?

Maybe it doesn’t matter what time you wake up. It could be six, seven or eight in the morning. Yet, it still takes you about three or four hours to shake off that morning brain fog and get moving.

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Then, you suddenly feel great… for a few hours.

But by the time three or four o’clock rolls around, that fatigue sets in again. If there’s a bed anywhere near you, you’ll fall into it for a quick nap.

Finally – somewhere around six or seven in the evening – your body and brain suddenly pull themselves together and you’re ready to roll! Of course, by then the best part of the day is gone. Continue reading

Adrenal Problems

By Bonnie Jenkins, Advanced Natural Medicine

Do you have adrenal problems? Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends have been complaining that they just don’t have the stamina to keep up with the pace of life. They feel overwhelmed and just plain worn out.

One of my friends, Judith, jokes that her new best friend is the snooze alarm. She says that she’s tired all the time, but a recent visit to the doctor didn’t find any medical cause for her fatigue. Since Judith doesn’t want to rely on artificial stimulants to get her through the day, she asked me what might be wrong and if there were any supplements that might help with adrenal problems.

Fortunately, there are a number of natural remedies for that pooped out feeling. But, as I explained to Judith, before you can start boosting your stamina, it’s important to understand the two most common reasons why it’s lacking in the first place: poor blood sugar metabolism and stressed out adrenal glands. Adrenal problems can be serious energy drainers.

The Sugar Rollercoaster

In order for your body to maintain optimum energy, it has to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. These levels are controlled by two hormones: glucagons, which releases sugar, fat and proteins from your cells for readily available fuel; and insulin, which takes sugar out of your bloodstream and stores it as fat to be burned for fuel if it’s needed later. Glucagon is released when you eat protein. Insulin is released when you eat carbohydrates. Eating too much or too little of either will throw your blood sugar off balance and make you feel tired.

Carbs come in two varieties – simple and complex. Simple carbs, like cane sugar, white flour and all the refined carbs you find in junk food, are metabolized very quickly and flood your bloodstream with large amounts of glucose all at once. When this happens, your body panics, secreting enough insulin to store it all as fat – while causing your blood sugar to plummet. Sure, you get a quick high – followed by a severe low, and plenty of extra rolls around the middle. Complex carbs, on the other hand, metabolize more slowly and enter bloodstream without causing such a severe reaction. Maybe you’ve noticed that when you eat whole grains, nuts, seeds or legumes, your energy levels are sustained for a longer period of time. It’s that slow fuel burn that keeps you going.

Skipping meals, eating junk food or severly limiting portions will starve your body of nutrients and cause low energy levels and adrenal problems. The most recent research supports a diet made up of 30 percent protein, 30 percent fats (healthy fats like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, not saturated or trans fats) and 40 percent complex carbohydrates. This will keep your blood sugar balanced and ensure proper nutrition.

Adrenal Burnout

The health of your adrenal glands is closely related to your blood sugar levels. The adrenals are two tiny, triangular-shaped glands located just north of your kidneys. In response to physical or emotional stress, your adrenal glands secrete adrenaline and other stress hormones.

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Adrenal glands are tough – they have to be in today’s world. But they aren’t invincible! Many people do develop adrenal problems. If you live with constant stress, your adrenal glands can become fatigued and eventually cease to function properly, leaving you feeling tired all of the time. And if you skip meals or chow down on junk food, don’t exercise or exercise too much, deprive yourself of sleep or use stimulants like caffeine, nicotine or sugar, you’re putting your adrenal glands in a state of constant alert, making burnout inevitable.

Now here’s the good news: weary adrenals can be nursed back to health and you kiss your adrenal problems goodbye quickly !

Unfortunately, most conventional doctors don’t recognize adrenal problems until the adrenal glands are 80 to 90 percent dysfunctional (a condition known as Addison’s Disease). But our body can feel adrenal fatigue long before then.

Mild adrenal problems can be counteracted by regulating your blood sugar. And one of the best ways to do this is through your diet. Ditch refined foods, particularly processed foods, artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, fried food, red meat, sugar, white flour products, preservatives and additives, in favor of a nutrient dense diet composed of whole foods (whole grains, fruits and veggies). To maintain blood sugar levels, it’s also a good idea to eat five or six small meals during the day, instead of the standard three squares.

Energizing Supplements

Nutritional supplements are critical to reviving tired adrenal glands. If your adrenals are just plain tuckered out, most nutritionists recommend taking adrenal glandulars. Available in pill form, these nutrient-rich supplements (derived from animal adrenal glands) enhance adrenal health by boosting hormone production. Because adrenal glandulars simply stimulate your body’s natural hormone production, they avoid the risks of steroid and adrenaline products.

The B vitamins are also essential for adrenal health and solving adrenal problems, as is vitamin C. Pantothenic acid (B5) is particularly important since it can kick-start sluggish adrenal glands. According to one animal study, Russian researchers found that rats who were deficient in pantothenic acid had decreased adrenal function. But after just one dose of this B vitamin, the researchers noted a dramatic improvement in adrenal health.

Another animal study, conducted at the State University of New York-Brooklyn, found that L-Tyrosine can also help fatigued adrenals. The SUNY team administered the amino acid before subjecting a group of rats to stress and found that, compared to controls, the L-Tyrosine helped to modulate the adrenal glands synthesis and secretion of stress hormones.

Natural sources of tyrosine include almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and lima beans. But to ensure you’re getting a steady supply of this amino acid, it’s a good idea to take L-Tyrosine in supplemental form. To ensure absorption, take this amino acid either at bedtime or with a high-carbohydrate meal.

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One Last Thing …

Revitalizing your adrenal glands and getting rid of adrenal problems is an important first step. But while your adrenals are rebuilding themselves, you can try these natural energy boosters to help beat back fatigue:

L-Carnitine: Carnitine helps transfer fatty acids to the mitochondria for energy production. A study of 110 top atheletes taking L-carnitine daily found that their endurance, strength and energy increased by 6 percent after only three weeks.

Rhodiola: A double-blind trial of 161 men indicates that rhodiola reduces stress and fatigue, improves memory, enhances concentration and physical fitness, and increases overall well-being. Better yet, rhodiola stimulates the immune system, enabling the body’s own defenses to ward off the effects of stress.

Siberian Ginseng: This adaptogenic herb helps stave off adrenal problems and supports adrenal and thyroid function, hormone production and sugar metabolism. Numerous studies support Asian ginseng’s ability to improve work performance, enhance mental function and generally increase your body’s capacity for stress.

Spirulina: This microalgae is a food resource that produces twenty times as much energy-enhancing protein as soybeans. It’s a quick and healthy fix for occasional energy slumps.

This Just In …

A few months ago, I told you about a “revolutionary” new idea cooked up by a couple of British scientists (“Is sugar really bad for you?” 10/23/03). Their brainstorm was a single pill, dubbed the Polypill, that could prevent heart disease. The pill would contain a statin drug to lower cholesterol, three different drugs to control blood pressure and a low dose of aspirin. But what really made this news so outrageous is that the two researchers said that everyone over the age of 55 could and should take it, whether they were at risk for heart disease or not!

But now a researcher from the University of Arizona has come up with a different, natural solution — Pycnogenol. According to Ronald Watson, professor of public health, Pycnogenol helps lower blood pressure, reduces LDL cholesterol, boosts HDL cholesterol, improves circulation and prevents platelet aggregation. And, unlike the polypill, Pycnogenol has a high flavonoid content that makes it an exceptional antioxidant.

But the best news is that, while the components in the poly pill come with a host of side effects, Pycnogenol has none! In fact, earlier research on over 2,000 patients taking Pycnogenol found that only 1.5 percent experienced unwanted effects (primarily mild gastrointestinal upset).

If you are at risk of heart disease, this is good news indeed!


Dragan IG, et al. “Studies concerning chronic and acute effects of L-carnitina in elite athletes.” Physiologie. 1989;26):111-129.

“Pycnogenol could act as ‘polypill.’” NutraIngredients. 8 Dec 2003.

Shevtsov VA, et al. “A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work.” Phytomedicine. 2003;10:95-105.

Tarasov Iu A, et al. “Adrenal cortex functional activity in pantothenate deficiency and the administration of the vitamin or its derivatives.” Voprosy pitaniia. 1985;4:51-54.

Wakade AR, et al. “Restoration of catecholamine content of previously depleted adrenal medulla in vitro: importance of synthesis in maintaining the catecholamine stores.” Journal of Neurochemistry. 1988;51:820-829.

Cortisol For Skin Care and Boosting your Health

By Bonnie Jenkins, Advanced Natural Medicine

Are you run down and stressed out? Do you have trouble getting up in the morning? Need a caffeine fix to keep going? Join the club! The hectic pace of modern life has most of us feeling frazzled. But constant stress could end up seriously compromising your body’s natural ability to reenergize – a condition known as adrenal fatigue.

Although stress affects everyone in different ways, most people endure two to five years of a high-pressure lifestyle before reaching adrenal fatigue. The bad news? It can take months, even years, to recover.

Adrenals 101

The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) sit on top of the kidneys and rush all of your body’s resources into “fight or flight” mode by increasing the production of cortisol and adrenaline. When healthy, your adrenals can instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, slow your digestion and sharpen your senses.

But if stress becomes the norm, the adrenal glands are constantly on high alert. The result is a constant flood of stress hormones. One of these hormones, cortisol, helps us meet stressful challenges by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen and counteracting inflammation. For a short time, that’s okay. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears your body down and depletes your energy reserves.

Long-term, high cortisol levels destroy healthy muscle and bone, slow down healing and normal cell regeneration, impair digestion, metabolism and mental function, interfere with healthy endocrine function and weaken your immune system. Fortunately, simple tweaks to your self-care regimen can work wonders in reigning in cortisol and boosting your adrenal health.

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Avoid Diet Disasters

When you are stressed out, the need for nutrients is much greater. Vitamins C is particularly critical for adrenal health. Studies show that vitamin C can influence cortisol, inducing an anti-inflammatory response to prolonged exercise and stress. In human studies, 3,000 mg. of vitamin C daily counteracted a rise in blood pressure, cortisol and the subjective response to acute psychological stress. To make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin C, take 1,000 to 2,000 mg. of supplemental vitamin C and eat plenty of foods rich in this important vitamin. Sweet red peppers, citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, mustard greens, broccoli, spinach and strawberries are all wonderful sources of vitamin C.

Taking a B-complex is also important since it contains Vitamin B6, niacin and other B vitamins needed as co-factors in enzymatic pathways and to restore proper adrenal functioning. Look for a supplement containing 50 to 100 mg. of each of the B vitamins. And don’t forget B-rich foods like egg yolks, avocados, cashews, peanuts, brown rice, soybeans, lentils and broccoli.

But adding nutrients is only part of the solution. Subtracting certain types of food from your diet can also help protect your adrenal glands. Case in point: Simple carbohydrates, which when consumed in excessive amounts, stress the adrenals by sending your blood sugar on a rollercoaster.

When your blood sugar goes up and down in response to eating sugar and refined carbs, your adrenals have to kick in to help your body function. Because the body perceives low blood sugar as a sign of starvation, it turns to the adrenal glands to normalize blood sugar levels by pumping out more cortisol and adrenaline. Along with limiting the amount of refined carbohydrates you consume, keep your blood sugar on an even keel by eating five or six small meals instead of three large meals daily.

Caffeine is another culprit that can lead to adrenal burnout. Using caffeine to prop up your body overstimulates the adrenals — sometimes to the point that they eventually fail. Tame your caffeine consumption by switching to less-caffeinated, antioxidant-rich green or white tea.

Are You Suffering From...

  • Love handles and a pot belly
  • Romance that isn't what it used to
  • Forgetfulness and inattention
  • Low (or no) strength and endurance
  • A sex drive that's shifted into neutral...or worse

If so...you may have Mature Male Burnout.  Click here to discover more about this unique condition and what you can do about it.

Adapt with Herbs

Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help boost our ability to deal with stress, whether it be physical or mental. They are great for increasing your energy levels and enhancing your mental and physical performance. But rather than overstimulating the adrenals, like caffeine does, adaptogens actually support proper function and help the adrenals produce cortisol in natural patterns.

Try taking 300 to 350 mg. of rhodiola, an herb which was found to reduce fatigue in 56 physicians on night duty in a study published in Phytomedicine. Look for a supplement that has been standardized to 0.8% salidrosides and 0.8% rosavins. Ginseng is another adaptogen that has been shown to decrease cortisol levels and help the body deal with chronic stress. Opt for a standardized extract containing four to five percent ginsenosides and take 100 to 200 mg. daily.

While not an herb, phosphatidyleserine (PS) is another nutritional supplement that can support healthy adrenal glands. PS is a phospholipid that is a structural component of the biological membranes in animals and plants. In studies, supplemental PS has been shown to improve mood and blunt the release of cortisol in response to physical stress. The recommended dosage is 300 mg. per day.

One Last Thing …

The most important part of treating adrenal fatigue is lifestyle modification. Managing overall stress is key, so try to incorporate daily tension-melting practices, such as deep breathing, meditation or even a long walk with your dog. Yoga may be particularly soothing, according to a 2003 study from Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for Integrative Medicine. In examining 16 men and women with no past yoga experience, researchers found that a single, one-hour yoga session significantly lowered blood cortisol levels. No time for yoga? Even a five-minute timeout in the middle of a chaotic day can help your adrenals heal.

This Just In …

A couple of days ago, a reader named John asked if there was anything new on the hypertension front. Well, there is – and it doesn’t come from your pharmacist.

According to a recent study by Greek researchers, flaxseed oil may help lower blood pressure. During their 12 week study of 59 men, half were given eight grams (a little more than half a tablespoon) daily of flaxseed oil. The other half were given safflower oil. Those getting the flaxseed oil experienced a clinically significant three to six percent reduction in their blood pressure readings.

Flaxseed oil is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The beneficial effect on blood pressure may be courtesy of prostaglandins, metabolites of ALA that regulate blood pressure as well as salt and water balance in the body.

While you can take a flaxseed oil capsule, you can also add this mild oil to salad dressing or smoothies. Just make sure you don’t cook with it since heat destroys the beneficial properties – and keep it in the fridge to prevent rancidity.


Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, et al. “Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.” Phytomedicine. 2000;7:365-371.

“Feeling Stressed? Try Yoga.” The Endocrine Society. 2003. www.endo-society.org

Paschos GK, Magkos F, Panagiotakos DB, et al. “Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in dyslipidaemic patients.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;61:1201-1206.

Rai D, Bhatia G, Sen T, et al. “Anti-stress effects of Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng: a comparative study.” Journal of Pharmacological Sciences. 2003;93:458-464.